"The 'war on terror' has always been a misnomer. It assumes that the terrorist threat can somehow be 'eradicated' through the mechanism of war" -Julliette Kayyem. | Lecturer in public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
I couldn't agree with Julliette Kayyem more. Terrorism and the people who use the threat of terror as a means to an end, will never be eradicated from our midst. That's just a fact of life. There will always be people who are so fanatical and so hell bent on destroying a counter point of view that they will resort to the most extreme means of making their point. If it means taking the innocent life of civilians, so be it. This is what we face from radical Islam, white supremacist, and various separatist and nationalist movements throughout the world. I have always known this, so why do I feel like I am living out my own version of George Orwell's "1984"?
Kayyem argues, and I am paraphrasing; that we should engage them, that there will always be a core group of people such as Osama bin Laden, who will never change, but we must make it less attractive for the bigger circle around the core to join the extreme group in the middle. Again, Keyyem is on point. It seems with his current fool hardy Middle East policy the president is doing just the opposite. By sitting on our asses and letting the tensions play out between Israel and Hezbollah; we have allowed a full scale war to break out between the two. And by doing so, we have made a hero of Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. Not to mention inflamed the rest of the Arab world by creating sympathy for the terrorist group Nasrallah leads. When Osama bin Laden attacked us on that faithful September morning, this is exactly what he hoped would happen. -A full scale war between extremist Muslims and the west- Things could not have worked out better for OBL if famous Muslim author, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali had scripted it himself. George Bush, backed by the neocons, invaded a country that had nothing to do with the 911 attacks, and now our troops are viewed as occupiers not saviors. Arabs all over the world are opposed to the war; they see the sectarian violence, the daily blood shed, and they hear of the prison abuse scandals. They hear news reports of American soldiers behaving badly, see images on Al- Jazeera T.V. of little Arab children being blown to smithereens; and as a result, they move closer to the core, the inner circle, closer to Osama bin Laden and his terrorist deeds. Of course, this means nothing to the president. Because here in America, his base smells blood, and they see this war as an us against them showdown that is already a fait accompli. And anyone who sees it differently, is a "cut and run" traitor. To those who aren't in the president's core,-the independents on the outer ring- he appeals to their fears, not their thirst for blood, but their love for their children, and the thought that another 911 could be looming right around the corner. There goes my thoughts of Orwell's "1984" again. It's why terror has now become so politicized. Karl Rove sees this as a win win issue for the GOP, and any news of terror regardless of where it is in the world, is good for the GOP in this country. It's why cynics, such as yours truly, will always question the timing of news about a terror cell break up somewhere in the world. I have seen this act before, and I always say to myself, why do these terrorist groups always try to act close to an election in America? Mmmmmm. "The plot is further evidence that the terrorist we face are sophisticated and constantly changing their tactics" Really Mr. President? You think! Nooooo, what makes you think that? And just exactly what did invading Iraq have to do with neutralizing theese terrorists?
In his radio address, the president linked Hezbullah,with the insurgencies in Afghanistan, and Iraq. Nice try sir, but the only link that I can see to these groups is your abominable foreign policy.
So let's talk about that foreign policy, and this so called "war on teror". If this was a real "war on terror" all our troops would be in Afghanistan trying to find OBL himself, the culprit who was responsible for the real terror that poor innocent Americans experienced. Instead, we are still bogged down in Iraq, and the killings, bombings, kidnappings and all out sectarian violence continues. And there is no end in sight, and no strategy in place to bring it to a winning conclusion. Let me quote Kayyem again: ""...we keep believing-in Iraq, and possibly now in Lebannon-that the Arab world understand only force and power; as if the Arab world is a beta dog, needing the alpha United States to put it in is place. The administration has insisted on bringing 'democracy' through force to Iraq and unconditionally supporting Israel in its present battles in Lebanon" Once again, Kayyem is right. The President and madam secretary just sat back and co-signed on Israel's actions in Lebanon, and gave Israel their blessings. By the time Condoleeza took her trip it was too late, and all hell was breaking out from Haifa to the Litani River. Now hundreds of lives and billions of dollars in destruction later, all we have to look forward to is a quickly brokered cease-fire, and ultimately, a UN peace keeping force which will not be able to keep the peace if Israel or Hezbullah decides to do like Marvin Gaye, and "get it on" all over again.
So where does this so called war on terror stand? Well according to "Pews World Survey, Arab attitudes towards the United States is the lowest it's ever been. So we can look forward to more extremist being created among that outer ring of Arabs, because more hate is festering and more fanatics are being born, and embracing a destiny of martyrdom every day. Some are already grown, and many are children. But they will be adults real soon, and there is no telling what type of hate they are feeling towards us. Now I don't know about other Americans; but the terrorist who is not afraid to give up his or her own life because of a total commitment, laced with fanaticism, to his or her beliefs; just scares the living s#@% out of me. Because no matter how crazy most criminals are, they still think self preservation first, and will do what it takes to save his or her own skin. Not the terrorist the president is creating with his Middle East policies; these terrorist hate us and everything we stand for so much that they are willing to give up their own lives to take ours. That my friends, is scary, and that's why we need to start looking for real answers and engaging these people in a constructive way, instead of thinking we can change their hearts and minds by dropping leaflets or bombing them into oblivion. And unlike a conventional war, they are not all unified in some recognizable country that we can strategically attack. They are all over the world, they are among us, and contrary to what the proponents of racial profiling would want you to believe, they have no discernible look. Organized battalions are not needed, instructions can be given via the Internet, and all it takes is an army of one to walk into a crowded restaurant or a mall to strike the enemy. So we keep playing politics instead of trying to come up with real answers, while our enemy takes on a more sinister profile, and continues to try to find ways to be the ultimate victor, in a war that no one might end up winning.
I started with Kayyem, and I will close with Kayyem-
"De-radicalizing a generation is not a job we can do alone, and it's not a job we can finish. (That's partly because our policies have helped radicalize people) But we need to stop doing so much to hinder. The world does not want to necessarily, and we ought not to require it as a condition for working to minimize a threat we all will face for some time"
The field-negro could not have said it better himself, and if Mr. Orwell was around, he would change the title of his book to 2006.